Chapter 6

"How long until we reach Airin?"

"I think it's only another ten minutes."

The Uchiha apprentice and her sensei were jumping from branch to branch at full speed, ready to find and capture the criminal they were sent after for their special mission, though it just seemed like a normal mission instead of something special.

Itachi already figured out what the mission was for, and was prepared for anything. He wasn't quite sure what kind of situation or jutsu the criminal could put them in to make something possibly happen, but he knew that his father wouldn't allow something like this to fail or someone getting hurt too badly, even though he had been in ANBU since he was thirteen.

As far as he could tell, his student was pretty much clueless and thought that it was just another tradition. 'Amejisuto, please, just keep being oblivious and happy for now,' he prayed.

A few minutes later, they dropped into the town, landing gracefully and walking like it was an everyday thing (since it was) while the town citizens stared in amazement. They obviously didn't get many ninja visitors, being a resort town. Once the duo got to the assigned hotel, they found that someone had already booked a reservation for them. ‘The Hokage or Mikoto probably. They're so nice,' Amejisuto smiled. She found the average-sized town charming compared to the large ninja village she was used to.

They got to their room and opened summoning scrolls, collecting clothes for the week that were stored in that place that most summoning things come from. "Itachi, why did they give us a week when we could just capture the criminal in a day?"

"It's traditional for it to be a week, and they probably want us to bond a bit more in an uncomfortable situation so we can learn to fully trust each other.. Or something like that at least," the raven replied.

"How is this an uncomfortable situation? It's another mission along with a chance to bond while relaxing, even though I already trust you with my life," the brunette smiled.

"Well that's good. Forgive me when I say that I barely trust anyone with my life," he admitted.

"Understandable, but I guess we'll just have to work on that sometime. For now, let's go to the hot springs!"

Itachi looked at a clear door on the other side of the room. "I guess we have private baths at this resort," he mumbled.

"Then how will we find the criminal if we don't even go to the same hot spring?"

"I've been told the criminal is male, so you wouldn't be able to find him on your own anyways since public baths are separated, which brings the question of how we will find him."

"Ooh! We can walk around town and look for him! They said we we're posing as a couple, right? Nothing will be suspicious if we go around on 'dates'," Amejisuto suggested.

"We should take baths first, but that’s a good idea," Itachi complimented.

"Who first, though?"

"Why not both at once? The sooner we're out, the sooner we can look and finish this mission," Itachi shrugged.

The seventeen year old turned red with embarrassment. "WHAT?! We can't share a bath, we're different- Hey! What are you doing?" she yelled as Itachi started taking off his armor and clothes.

"In ANBU, it makes no difference. Put emotions aside and do it for the mission," he stated, chuckling when the girl squeaked and turned around. He put a towel around his waist and walked outside. "If you're uncomfortable with me seeing anything, I suggest you go in first," he put his hand over his eyes.

Amejisuto sighed and quickly stripped down, running outside and into the hot water with her eyes closed and face red. Itachi went in next on the opposite side of the hot spring. "I think this is also what people consider 'bonding and building trust' under these circumstances," the raven said.

"This is inappropriate and humiliating. And don’t we have a week? It’s not like we’ll run out of time to get the job done! I don't know how you ANBU do it," the Ishi mumbled.

"The target could leave the town at any moment. Like I said, put your emotions aside for the mission. That's one of the most important shinobi rules."

"Naruto breaks that rule all the time then. He gets way too emotional," she laughed, trying to get rid of the nervous, panicky butterflies, no, bees in her stomach and throat.

They sat in the hot water awkwardly until they felt that they were clean enough to go out, both uncomfortable with the idea of repeatedly getting out to soap up. Itachi ended up getting hit by a thrown rock when he forgot to close his eyes when they left the spring, even though he wasn't even looking.

They went out and went in different shops and tourist attractions, looking for the criminal, and being unaware that he already found out they were hunting him. They ended up going to a restaurant when they got hungry, amused by the fact that their most popular dish was ramen.

They took a few bites of their snacks - dango and rice balls- before they noticed something weird was happening to Amejisuto. She started gasping for air and mumbling about something being an accident before she passed out. Itachi looked at her with his sharingan and realised she was in a deep genjutsu that even he would have trouble breaking. He quickly paid for the snacks and carried her back to the resort they were staying at, laying her on her bed. "Damn, the criminal must've done this," he cursed.

He noticed his apprentice started to whimper and shake, and reached down to try to soothe her a bit by shooting some of his chakra into her to help her block out some of the genjutsu world she was in, but he found himself being pulled into her mind once he merged with her chakra, falling for the illusions that he knew he probably wouldn't escape.

He knew the type of jutsu this was, and he knew that there was only one way of getting out. It was going to be like a game; going through all stages or levels until you finally win. He just wondered what kind of levels there would be in his student's mind, and what he would uncover. Hadn't she mumbled something about an accident?

His body in the genjutsu was normal, thankfully. Itachi looked around, seeing a normal looking world. In fact, it looked like the Ishi clan compound; Amejisuto's old home. "Look out!" someone cried, before pummeling into him, throwing them across the street. He looked where he was previously standing and saw a wolf with an evil aura running through that spot, looking like he was ready to tear up anyone that crossed his path. "Itachi? Well that explains how I could touch you," he looked up at the person who tackled him to the side. It was his student. "What happened? And why are you here too?"

"You got caught in a genjutsu and I got pulled in," he sighed. "As you know, with a high leveled jutsu, like this is, you need a person on the outside to either give you chakra to regulate your flow of energy or defeat the enemy, or you have to block out all senses, but I tried to give chakra and got trapped, and I take it you already tried blocking your senses?"

"Yes, with no luck… So how do we get out of here?"

"I think we have to go through until the enemy ends it or this thing runs its course. Have you collected any information?"

Amejisuto visibly shivered. "This is just like the incident twelve years ago. If I'm correct, I think it's going through my memories. This is the worst one though," she said sadly.

"Why is that?"

"Come with me," the brunette sighed, grabbed his hand and followed the wolf. They got to a small temple where a little girl and an older man were cornered by the wild wolf. It lunged for the small girl but the man jumped in front of her, quickly forming hand seals, but it was cut short as he cried out when the wolf sank his teeth into his leg. The man fell on his knees and the wolf scratched him up and bit down on his neck, killing him instantly while the girl behind him screamed. Itachi looked away and saw tears running down his student's face.

"Daddy!" the small girl cried, as his dead body fell to the ground. The wolf looked at her and prepared to pounce, but a blast of wind threw him away and down the road. The clan leader, Sirami, appeared. She was furious at the intruding animal and looked over at the small girl who was still crying over the man.

"Why did you kill him, you dirty mutt?" she screamed, furious, performing hand signs and making a stick of lightning appear in her hand. She threw it at the wolf, who dodged it easily and growled before running down the road and pouncing on her. He stomped a paw on her throat hard enough to make her unable to talk anymore. Sirami wrestled with the canine, getting bitten and scratched but managing to stay alive.

There was a loud scream from the little girl and the wolf turned its head to her, getting distracted and focusing on attacking again. The blonde woman threw a punch after lining her fist with chakra, slamming it into the wolf's head and killing it. She then hobbled over to the little girl, wrapping her in a hug and turning her away from the man.

"Mommy, why... Why d-did that doggie attack us?" the girl sobbed. Sirami tried to talk, but the only sound that would come out was a hoarse breath, making her distraught that she couldn't comfort her daughter. 'Amejisuto,' she mouthed.

"It's all my fault," the seventeen year old Amejisuto whispered. "I begged him to take me to the temple because I was finally old enough to go pay my respects to the dead, and the wolf came out of nowhere..." she started to sob, hiding her face in her hands. "I shouldn't have begged him so much. He didn't want to take me yet, but he just couldn't say no after a while, and we got attacked."

Itachi tried to imagine what it would be like if his father or brother was killed by a wild animal that should be so easy to take down, and how bad he would feel if he was the reason they died or his mother stopped being able to talk. There would be only guilt, darkness and depression for him... How did he not know what happened? He and Sasuke had been close friends with her since she was small.

He grabbed his student and wrapped his arms around her, letting her cry on his shoulder. "The worst part was that I was the one who snuck the wolf out of the Inuzuka dog clinic the day before," she cried.

"I'm sorry this happened, but it's in the distant past. You got over it once, so you can do it again," Itachi tried to cheer her up. Amejisuto stepped back and wiped the tears off of her face and sniffing a bit.

"I guess I'm just selfish, since there are people that get their whole clans killed and have to act like nothing happened," she sighed.

There was a loud crack and the scenery changed. It turned into a dark forest in the middle of a thunderstorm. Oddly enough, the two didn't get wet. They saw three ANBU crouching on the muddy forest floor. One of them was holding a man covered in blood. The brunette saw her mentor's eyes widen. "No," he murmured.

"Itachi, we have to give up! He's dead and nothing can revive him!" one of the taller people yelled over the thunder.

"No! He isn't dead and I sent a message to the hospital. A medic-nin will be here soon!" the shortest figure, who was wearing an ANBU captain uniform, yelled back.

"Sir, if we don't get out of here, we will all die too!" The other man shouted.

"So be it! If he dies, so will I. He's our comrade! You can run if you want but I'm not leaving!"

The dying man twitched slightly. There was a small silence in the storm as he whispered 'let me go… Warn the village.' The younger Itachi took off his ANBU mask and Amejisuto saw that he was around fifteen at the time.

"I'm not going to let you die," he whispered on the brink of tears.

"Captain, we have to go before he gets us too," one of them men said.

"I don't care! Let Orochimaru kill me and take my sharingan. It's my fault anyways!" Itachi shouted.

"You idiot. I'm... Going to die... You must survive for me… For the clan… For that… Girl…" the man gasped in pain and then lay still. Itachi picked him up and they all stood.

"It's over, captain. Shisui is gone. You know the rules: no evidence. We have to destroy him now."

"I refuse," Itachi growled.

"Then we'll do it."

"No!” he snapped. “No… not you. I guess the fate of the village rests in his disposal, but at least let me mourn."

"We can't, sir. It's now or never," the other ANBU pushed.

Itachi held back his tears and turned into a cold shell. He laid the man on the ground and everyone took a few steps back. "Fire style: Dragon fire jutsu!" He yelled, shooting a stream of fire out of his mouth. It grew bigger and disintegrated the man. The ANBU turned around, put on their masks, and went on their way back to the village, bringing the storm with them.

Once they were gone, the present Itachi stood over the ashes of his old comrade. "I hate war and evil… But I can handle those… Death though... Well he was the only team member that I couldn't save and it almost broke me," he whispered.

"Who was he?" asked Amejisuto.

"He was my cousin, Shisui Uchiha. We were close and he was on my team for about four years," Itachi explained. "Once he died, I was devastated, and I gained my mangekyo sharingan. It forms when an Uchiha's best friend dies in front of them."

The brunette put her hand on his shoulder. "So we've both lost precious people."

"And whoever put this jutsu on us is a sick bastard," he spat, losing his kind and calm composure.

The world dissolved around them and they were back in reality. "I'm glad you think so," a man stood smirking in the back doorway. He had short brown hair, wore sunglasses, and was one of those people who looked like they thought they were soooo cool.

"Are you the S-ranked criminal we were sent after?" Amejisuto asked bluntly, not even trying to cover up the fact that they were there to capture him.

"Duh! No one else around here except for us three have strong enough abilities to do these types of things," the man bragged. "But, I'm retired. I don't even want to be a criminal anymore. I just like trapping people in genjutsu and making them go insane in their own minds."

"You sadistic asshole," Itachi glared.

"Ah yes, you have seen the true me," the man bragged.

"So if you don't want to be a criminal anymore, how about coming with us back to Konoha?" Amejisuto growled.

"Lovely offer, pretty lady, but I would also rather not be in jail. Seeya," he tried to make a run for it but was stopped by the quick Uchiha, who blocked the doors. The man turned around to face the Ishi, who gave him a good punch to the face. Itachi took out a kunai and held it to the man's neck while the girl gave a short low whistle. The man cried out in pain and fell on the ground, curling into a ball and covering his ears.

"I broke his eardrums. It's the easiest part of the human body to break with my jutsu, and perfectly sadistic enough for payback for making us relive awful memories," the brunette bragged while glaring at the target.

"I'm not one to agree with revenge, but at least you didn't kill him. Are you feeling better now?" the raven put the kunai back in his weapons pouch.

"Are you?" she replied while tying up the man.

"I'm fine now."

"Well then so am I."

They found out that they had been in that short genjutsu for three days, making them cut the week-long mission short, since they could just return three days early. An ANBU squad took their new prisoner back to Konoha, and the duo soon left to the Uchiha estate. "Well that was an uneventful mission when it really comes down to it. The hardest part was just our memories," the Ishi sighed, walking down the halls with her mentor.

"The fight was short. Either way, it was a decent four day mission, compared to other ones I've been on." Itachi agreed. They got to their rooms and opened their doors, ready to go their separate ways for now. "Goodnight, Ameji."

Amejisuto blushed before scurrying into her room. "Goodnight."


Two ninja walked quickly through the desert. They were silent; all things they needed to discuss have been talked about, planned, and readied. The redhead of the group was sealed inside a creepy puppet with a metal scorpion-like tail and many weapon pockets. The blonde was mixing up a bunch of clay in his pouches, letting the mouths on his hands eat some in preparation of the small invasion on the village that was just barely on the horizon.

They looked at each other and nodded, speeding up and putting Japanese straw hats on. Not to conceal obvious identities, but because the leader thought it would be cool, which was nonsense, but they did it anyways. The beige sand swirled around them slightly, as if afraid. There was complete silence. Not even the wind dared to blow across them until they reached the city.

The guards at the gates were ready to attack, having been put on lookout for the Akatsuki, since they got word from the great sannin Jiraiya that they were now on the move. "Oh great, the general is here!" one of them cheered, having spotted the only man who could possibly lead them to victory. Another guard turned to the general who looked like a zombie.

"General, we have to warn Lord Kazekage!" another exclaimed.

The general moved forward swiftly with a kunai. His eyes were glazed over and the many guards barely had a chance to cry out in fear as he killed them quickly and efficiently. The Akatsuki partners glided through the gates easily without anyone trying to stop them. "Sasori, my man, your spy puppets are really useful," Deidara smirked, looking over the dead general who was already a puppet. He had officially died just minutes before attacking everyone, but had been unaware of being under the puppet master's jutsu for a few years.

"Go in now, and don't keep me waiting," Sasori growled before looking at his newest addition to his collection.

The blonde smirked and went through the long alley to the village, setting off explosives when he got in successfully, trying to get the Kazekage's attention. He was only slightly surprised when a teenager with red hair and black surrounding his eyes appeared quicker than expected, riding on a cloud of sand.

"This is going to be fun, yeah," he smirked before throwing the first bomb and starting the fight.

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